Sun Belt

2016 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, Idaho vs. Colorado State Prediction, Game Preview, History, Scores

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Prediction, Idaho vs. Colorado State Game Preview, History, Scores


Three reasons why you should watch the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl between Idaho (8-4) and Colorado State (7-5), why each team might win, honest thoughts, line and prediction.


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Date: Thursday, December 22nd
Game Time: 7:00 pm
Venue: Albertson’s Stadium, Boise, ID
Network: ESPN

Contact/Follow @PeteFiutak

Scroll down for the video preview and bowl history

The Bowl Matchup Ranking Of Awesomeness (1 best-40 worst): 37 out of 40

Three Reasons Why You Should Watch The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

20 years of the wacky-fun name bowl. When it first came about in 1997, it was the butt of bowl jokes. Not only do you get to spend your bowl season in Boise in late December, but you’re playing in a Humanitarian Bowl. Now, it’s all about the Famous Idaho Potato.

But it’s held on for 20 years and has occasionally been entertaining, with nine of the 19 decided by a touchdown or less. This was supposed to be the MAC vs. the Mountain West, but it was rigged so Idaho could be in a bowl called the Idaho Bowl. It would be rude of you to not attend the anniversary party.

Thanks, Idaho. Now bu-bye. The University of Idaho will play college football in 2017, but it’s not going to be doing in the Sun Belt, and it’s not going to be in the FBS. But it got to close out its current run with a big middle finger to the rest of the college football world, coming up with its first winning season since 2009, and just its second since 1999.

The two teams are playing well. Colorado State got past a rough first part of the season going 3-4 with a tough part of the slate to run, and it rolled winning four of the last five. Idaho ripped through the Sun Belt over the second half of the season, winning four straight and six of the last seven.

Here’s Why Idaho Will Win The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

Idaho doesn’t really have a big-time offense. It’s defense is far, far better than past Idaho teams cranked out, but it’s hardly Tuscaloosa in Moscow. So how are the Vandals getting it done? Turnover margin.

Yeah, the offense has been fine over the second half of the season – coming up with 34 points or more in five of the last seven games – because the O is capitalizing on absolutely everything. Idaho is a +8 on the year in turnover margin, not losing the stat in seven of the last nine games. The Vandals are a +12 in the eight wins, and a -4 in the losses.

Get ready to get the offense moving. The Vandals don’t have a high-powered attack, but again, they’re scoring when they get their chances, and they’re dominating the time of possession. Colorado State’s defense has been okay, but it can’t come up with third down stops, allowing offenses to convert a whopping 49% of their chances. Idaho’s offense will be on the field for most of the game.

Really? Idaho is going to lose the Famous Idaho Bowl that was tailor-made for it to play in? This is an attitude bowl. Colorado State might be playing well, and it’s not going to care about the sentimentality of the situation, but Idaho and its fans should bring a little extra funk. It’s only the third bowl game in the program’s history, going 2-0 in the first two – both in Boise.

Here’s Why Colorado State Will Win The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

You and a few friends could throw for over 300 yards on the Idaho secondary. The Idaho defense might be better overall compared to the last ten years, but it’s still getting steadily hit hard by anyone trying to throw a forward pass. The Vandals allowed 300 yards or more in a run of four games in a six-game run, and Washington State wasn’t even one of those teams – it was too busy running at will. They’re going up with picks – with six in the last two games – but Colorado State’s terrific passing game should roll without a problem because …

The Rams might have the hottest offense in the Mountain West. They sputtered and coughed over the first half of the season, but over the last five games they ripped it up, averaging over 520 yards and 47 points per game with a passing attack hitting over 75% of its throws. Idaho might control the clock and the tempo, but the Rams will strike quickly. This should be made even easier because …

QB Nick Stevens should have 14 days to throw. It’s no coincidence that the offense took off once he took over the offense halfway through the season, but it also helped that the line gave him plenty of time. The CSU offense makes a big deal out of getting the ball out of the quarterback’s hands in a hurry, but the front five has been a rock, allowing just 13 sacks on the year. Idaho doesn’t have much of a pass rush.

You’ve Read This Far, So You Get Three Honest Thoughts On The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

There’s sort of a problem when the best player in the bowl game is a kicker, but … Idaho’s Austin Rehkow will probably be in The League for the next 15 years. The All-American has been a rock of a punter over the last four seasons, massive on kickoffs, and terrific as a placekicker, hitting 26-of-29 this year. Put your NFL scouting hat on – he might go as early as the fifth round in April.

And for those punter junkies, Colorado State’s Hayden Hunt isn’t bad, either. He helped the Rams finish tenth in the nation in punting earning First Team All-Mountain West honors.

Colorado State sort of needs this. Head coach Mike Bobo is more than safe, especially considering this was supposed to be a rebuilding year, but the Rams stumbled when they shouldn’t have against Nevada in last year’s NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl, and they’re supposed to be far better than a Sun Belt team – even one playing a relative home game. Colorado State is one team that’s not going to blink at the weather, it has more talent, and it has more firepower on both sides of the ball. It would be a black eye for the Mountain West to lose this.

Paul Petrino is starting to generate a buzz. The Petrino name matters – he’s Bobby’s brother – and taking a woeful Idaho program to an 8-4 season under trying circumstances was special. He’s not going to get a big-time Power Five gig any time soon, but he’s known for his offenses – he’s a Petrino – and now he’s reportedly talking to Western Kentucky. He’s done his job for the Vandals, but he’s due to make a step up.

Super. So Who’s Going To Win The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl?

How can you possibly go against the emotion of the situation?

Of course Idaho is going to play like it’s the last game it’s ever going to play, and of course there’s no way it’s going to lose the bowl with its name in it.

But it is.

Colorado State’s offense is too strong, too effective, and too efficient. The Ram D will give up plenty of points, but the O will get them right back.

Final Score

Colorado State 34, Idaho 24

Line

Colorado State -13.5, o/u: 64

ATS Confidence: 2
5: Your New Year’s Eve chances to score in your favorite bar
0: Your New Year’s Eve chances to score after covering a College Football Playoff semifinal

Must See Rating: 2.5
5: New Year’s Eve: Defected In The House, Ministry of Sound, London
0: New Year’s Eve Live with Anderson Cooper and Special Co-Host Kathy Griffin

Get Tickets For The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl History, Results

Dec. 22, 2015 Akron 23 Utah State 21
Dec. 20, 2014 Air Force 38 Western Michigan 24
Dec. 21, 2013 San Diego State 49 Buffalo 24
Dec. 15, 2012 Utah State 41 Toledo 15
Dec. 17, 2011 Ohio 24 Utah State 23
Dec. 18, 2010 Northern Illinois 40 Fresno State 17
Dec. 30, 2009 Idaho 43 Bowling Green 42
Dec. 30, 2008 Maryland 42 Nevada 35
Dec. 31, 2007 Fresno State 40 Georgia Tech 28
Dec. 31, 2006 Miami 21 Nevada 20
Dec. 28, 2005 Boston College 27 Boise State 21
Dec. 27, 2004 Fresno State 37 Virginia 34 (OT)
Jan. 3, 2004 Georgia Tech 52 Tulsa 10
Dec. 31, 2002 Boise State 34 Iowa State 16
Dec. 31, 2001 Clemson 49 Louisiana Tech 24
Dec. 28, 2000 Boise State 38 UTEP 23
Dec. 30, 1999 Boise State 34 Louisville 31
Dec. 30, 1998 Idaho 42 Southern Miss 35
Dec. 29, 1997 Cincinnati 35 Utah State 19